CBS has a winning formula at the helm of its new hit “Supergirl” though why it took so long especially in this climate of genre-hungry programming to finally get the show on the air is baffling to audiences — fortunately fans have a new rising star in series lead Melissa Benoist who is doing the cape proud.
It was particularly crucial that after the unfortunately timed “leak” of CBS’ Supergirl pilot this past summer that the series (practically as the cast was ready to take the stage at SDCC), produced by the same minds behind The CW hit series Arrow and its successful spin-off The Flash proved that after premiering to huge broadcast numbers this fall, the series itself has some legs to go on. It sounds cliche seeing as how the centrifugal character is a female, and there has been some speculation as to whether or not television audiences are interested in a female lead superhero series.
But when that star is Melissa Benoist and the boots she’s filling are those of one of DC Comic’s most prized properties, Supergirl is certainly coming out of the gate soaring high and without the help of that notable Metropolis Marvel hogging up the scenery, set to make her own mark in primetime. Inspired by the Richard Donner film which inspired fans everywhere to believe that a man could indeed fly, a lot of that freshness and charm are translating easily into Kara’s journey for contemporary audiences.
The Supergirl mythology far exceeds any expectations that anyone may have about the character of Kara Zor-El the cousin of the universally famous Superman. On the CBS series, it is established that Kara is also rocketed by her Kryptonian parents to Earth with the intention of caring for the infant Kal-El. It’s unfortunate that Kara’s vessel gets thrown slightly off course, and the young girl gets trapped in the Phantom Zone, but when her home planet of Krypton is destroyed and the Phantom Zone is compromised it releases Kara’s ship as well as its compliment of prisoners.
When Kara arrives on Earth she’s still a young lady, but her cousin has grown up and become one of the planet’s greatest champions. Superman places Kara with the Danvers family (many will recognize the actors in those roles as Helen Slater and Dean Cain; both have respectively worn the cape and famous “S” symbol. Slater as Supergirl in the theatrical release; Cain as Superman on television). Following her classic comic book introduction in Action Comics #252 (May, 1959) Supergirl would immediately manage to step out from under the shadow of Superman.
The character headlined two series of her own after her run in Adventure Comics and solidified her fandom during her 1980s publication of The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl. The heroine had come into her own, and then suddenly met with a most climatic fate in the groundbreaking Crisis on Infinite Earths with one of the most profound moments in modern comic book storytelling. When the DC Universe was rebooted, Superman was deemed the only survivor from the planet Krypton. Kara would have to wait until 2004 to properly reenter DC continuity.
Since her reintroduction and especially into her rebranding for The New 52 revamp Supergirl has moved center stage and alongside Wonder Woman given the publishing imprint one of its most popular female leads. With the DC Universe dominating on the television landscape, it was a no-brainer that the Maid of Might would be joining a group of super powered ladies in primetime that have included alumni Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dark Angel and of course the classic, as established by Lynda Carter who portrayed Wonder Woman in the 70s for CBS.
With the television devoid of any superhero shows that featured a leading lady, if there was any DC Comics character that was made to fit the small screen it would be Supergirl. Her series on CBS continued to strive to new heights with its second episode “Stronger Together” which finds Kara (Melissa Benoist) working to establish relationships in her personal and professional life to help her in her new role as National City’s own superhero! The episode also serves to introduce the “big baddie” for the premiere season’s arc: Supergirl’s own Aunt Astra (Laura Benanti).
Living up to the legend isn’t something that Kara is looking to do as she blazes her own trail as a National City’s new Supergirl, but when her boss and media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) begins to apply pressure on her team to provide her with the first in-depth interview with the Girl of Steel, it isn’t something that Kara is prepared to do. Adding to that pressure is the fact that without the proper training in the field Supergirl is as big a menace as the threats she’s promising to defend her adopted planet from.
Enter Maxwell Lord (guest star Peter Facinelli) who is claiming these “aliens” are only the beginning of a great danger that is yet to come. Taking steps to make certain that her sister is prepared for anything that comes at her, Alex (Chyler Leigh) who as one of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations more winning bio-engineers is also a highly trained hand-to-hand combatant. Alex begins Kara’s training, and just in time as a new alien enemy enters the playing field and leads to the revelation that Kara’s own Aunt Astra is behind the alien incursions taking place on Earth.
What has everyone wondering is whether or not Supergirl indeed inhabits the same world as The CW series especially The Flash which is this season inviting the speculation of infinite multiple earths in the DC TV universe? It would be great to imagine the properties crossing over in similar fashion to the current on-air events, including the idea that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kara Sanders would one day compete for who is the fastest hero on the planet. That may be something that the fans may have to champion for, as the networks will undoubtedly make it a challenge.
Supergirl airs Monday nights @ 8pm on CBS.